Category Archives: Cultural activities

The Nordic American Voices Oral History Initiative

Nordic American Voices2At the monthly meeting of the Nordic Lodge on September 17th,  Gordon Strand and Mari-Ann Kind Jackson, from the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, will talk about the Museum’s ongoing Nordic American Voices Oral History Initiative.
The primary focus of Nordic American Voices is to record, using high definition camcorders, the life stories of Nordic American immigrants and their ancestors in the Pacific Northwest. Individuals with stories of WWII experiences in the Nordic countries are also sought out.  To date, more than 550 interviews have been recorded, transcribed, and entered into a searchable database in the Museum’s permanent collection for research.

One book, Voices of Ballard and Beyond, and two documentaries, Under the Clouds of War – Growing up in Occupied Denmark & Norway, and This is my Childhood – Finland at War,  based on the stories graciously shared,  have been published so far. More are certainly to come.

All interested in hearing more about this exciting oral history initiative are welcome to attend the September Nordic Lodge meeting!  10:00 a.m., at the Nordic Hall.

Syttende Mai! Hipp, Hipp, Hurra!

jsw_img_0469One again this year thousands of people will line the streets in Ballard on May 17th to watch more than 100 groups – including marching bands, Norwegian-American lodges, drill team, classic cars and much more —  participate in the annual  Syttende Mai parade. It’s an impressive celebration!

Seattle’s first Seventeenth of May celebrationjsw_img_0418 took place in Seattle in May 1889, before Washington became a state in November and before the Great Seattle Fire in June.   More about the history of Syttende Mai may be found at

For more information on this year’s parade and other celebratory activities in Ballard visit

Other U.S. cities that celebrate in a similar major way include Brooklyn, New York, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Stoughton, Wisconsin.

“Hipp, Hipp, Hurra!

Scandinavian Flat Plain Carving Demonstration

carvingsThere are many styles of  woodcarving, some of which are Relief, Native American, Caricatures, Realistic in Humans, Birds and Animals, as well as Scandinavian.
On Thursday,  April 21st beginning at 1pm at the Nordic Hall just south of Coupeville, local carvers Dick Weber, Phil Kempbell and Chris Eliassen  will discuss and demonstrate the style of carving known as Scandinavian Flat Plain Figure Carving. All have taken classes from Harley Refsal, a nationally known flat plain carver from Decorah Iowa.  In small groups, there will be opportunity for attendees to observe the process by which the three of them, working on the same flat plain figure, approach and achieve the finished product. Time may not permit them to complete this carving, but there will be examples of completed works for visitors to look at.  The public is welcome at this event.  A donation of $5 will be appreciated from those attending who are not members of the Lodge.

Nordic Book Discussion Group selects its reading adventures for 2016

The Nordic Book Discussion Group reading list for the coming year includes a wide range of subject matter, both fictional and non-fictional, and all selections have either a Nordic/Scandinavian theme or author. Subjects include WWII, Nordic myths, and murder! Authors include well known ones, such as Henning Mankell, and some who though not as well known, are widely acclaimed for their work.  And, one of this year’s authors is Whidbey author Gloria Koll, presenting us with her first novel Skipping Stones!

jsw_heritage_of_darkness    InCodWeTrust  skipping stones cover   gold run   jsw_buzz_aldrin

dogs of riga   jsw_song_of_the_vikings   birkebeiner   jsw_almost_nearly_perfect_people   jsw_norwegian_by_night

The group meets the first Thursday of the month September to June at the Nordic Hall in Coupeville, 1:30-3:00 pm. If you are interested in joining their adventures this year, please contact them at for more information and also visit  our Activities web page.



Nordic Fest on November 14th!

Nordic Fest poster

Alt for Norge – again!

Daughters program photo (2)If you’ve never heard of this TV show, it’s undoubtedly because it’s one that is on Norwegian TV – TVNorge.

Apparently, one of the popular pastimes in Scandinavia these days involves gathering around the television to watch Americans stumble through a cultural obstacle course as they get in touch with their Norwegian heritage.

Producers of Alt for Norge  (or “The Great Norway Adventure,” as it’s called in the States) recruit American contestants for the show who are of Norwegian descent but who have never previously visited their ancestral homeland. The winners get a monetary reward and an in-person meeting with their “lost” Norwegian relatives.

Two of those former contestants  who now have a little farm in the Olympia area  – Alf and Lulie Herigstad — are coming to Whidbey Island again to tell us all about their adventures! (They did their first program at a  Daughters of Norway meeting earlier this year).   Their venue on this 2nd visit will be the Nordic Hall, home of the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge. 

The program will begin at approximately 10:30am, following a Lodge business meeting that will begin at 10:00am.  The program is open to all who are interested in coming.  If you missed their first program, be sure to take advantage of this 2nd opportunity!

If you want to know a little more about the Alt for Norge TV program (now in Season 5) before coming to listen to Alf and Lulie, and get an idea of what they went through, several whole episodes of the series are available on YouTube.  Just type in “Alt for Norge” in the YouTube search bar.


God jul!

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